Thursday, September 17, 2009
Creatures of Habit
Quint and I are both creatures of habit. He wakes up at pretty much the same time every morning. I wake up about the same time every morning, too, but it isn't the same time Quint wakes up. Quint wakes up about dawn, or about 6:00 a.m., whichever is earlier. I wake up after I've had about seven hours sleep, so depending upon when I went to bed that can range from 7:00 a.m. to much later in the morning.
One of the first things Quint does is run around to all the windows from which he can view the outside world and make sure everything is just where he left it the day before. He sits at each window and makes a warbling commentary on what he sees outside and then moves to another window. After he's satisfied that everything outside is in an acceptable condition, he comes into the bedroom to wake up Carol. This usually occurs at about 6:30 a.m. He's not obnoxious about his wake-up call, he simply jumps up on her side of the bed and warbles a greeting. He knows that in order to get his breakfast, Carol has to first be awake and moving around the house, so he makes sure that she gets up and starts her day on time.
Carol feeds Quint and has her own breakfast at about the same time, and then she will throw the toy mouse around a bit for him to chase and jump. By this time, I'm usually waking up and I can hear the clumping sound on the kitchen floor as Quint lands from one of his jumps for the mouse. I also hear the clink of the spoon on the cat dish as Carol puts the cat food in it.
We use small ceramic bowls for cat dishes. Plastic bowls eventually get scratched and gouged and develop crevices that are difficult to get clean. Plastic bowls also tend to retain odors of past meals and dishwashing detergents. The little ceramic bowls have proven to be nearly unbreakable, clean up easily, don't scratch and don't smell bad. Plus, they're just the right size to hold the small portion of canned food that we give Quint twice a day at breakfast and dinner. We try to feed a mouse-sized portion to him at each meal, mouse-sized meaning not the size portion a mouse would eat, but the size a mouse would be as a meal. There's not too much meat on a mouse. We also keep his kibble bowl topped off so he can refuel at anytime during the day.
At the end of the day, there are the evening rituals of dinner, tooth brushing and playing. Quint likes to eat when we do, so he gets fed just before we sit down to dinner. Evening times are less regimented than mornings. Sometimes we go for a walk before dinner and eat late. Sometimes we eat early and watch a movie. Quint seems to be okay with our variable schedule, though I'm sure he'd like it better if he got his dinner at a more predictable time. He does demand his tooth brushing and playtime, but he doesn't insist that they happen at any particular time. He will remind me that it's tooth brushing time by walking up to my chair at the dining room table, standing up on his hind legs and putting a paw on my arm, with just a hint of claw, an implied claw as it were, to make sure he has my attention. When he thinks it's time to play, he'll sometimes bring his toy mouse into the room where one of us is sitting or working and drop it on the floor in the doorway so that we'll be sure to see it.
Other times of the day, though, pretty much anything goes. Quint catches a nap almost anytime during the day, but he's always ready to play and will wake up instantly to investigate any toy mouse rattling sounds that he might hear. Cat ears are like little sonic radar receivers and are always active. They are also selective, in that they only activate the cat when the sound constitutes a threat, a possible meal, or something fun to do. But that's a whole other subject and will probably end up being a post of its own at some point. Let me end this one by saying that, though all of us, Quint, Carol and me included, have our daily habits, we also tend to be rather adaptable, with a willingness to change our routines to fit current contingencies. I like that about us and I hope that part about changing never changes.